arnet’s players threatened to go on strike for last night’s game at Southend amid a row between captain Jamie Turley and a member of staff over an alleged racist incident.
Turley missed the Bees’ 2-1 defeat at Roots Hall, and Barnet owner Tony Kleanthous this morning confirmed the centre-half and a staff member had both been suspended on full pay, pending the outcome of an ongoing club investigation.
It comes after Stockport County’s Ryan Johnson alleged he was called “a monkey” by a Barnet employee during the north London club’s 5-0 home defeat on Saturday.
The FA this morning confirmed they are aware of the allegation and have launched an investigation.
Some of the Barnet players are said to have asked the club to ensure the member of staff at the centre of the allegation was not present at the club on Monday morning.
However, the employee, who is not part of the coaching staff and has been described as an employee of Barnet’s stadium, the Hive, nonetheless arrived on Monday.
Turley is understood to have confronted the staff member, who reported the captain to the club, leading to both their suspensions.
The rest of the squad effectively went on strike in protest and discussed refusing to play against Southend during a series of tense Zoom calls on Monday afternoon.
The coaching staff were said to be entirely supportive of whatever the players decided but the squad was reminded of the potential implications of not playing, which could include fines or even being sacked.
The squad eventually decided to play without Turley, and Kleanthous says he plans to speak with the squad tomorrow, along with the safety officer from Saturday’s game, who investigated the alleged racism at the time.
Kleanthous this morning told Standard Sport: “We take the matter really seriously and we’re trying to do everything properly.
“Someone has heard a comment they believe is racist and that they believe has come from a member of staff. That was all investigated on the day, no one has escalated it to me as chairman and I’m not aware that situation is ongoing.
“On Monday morning, I’m confronted by an issue between two members of staff and I have no choice but to suspend them both.
“We’re still waiting for statements from witnesses. These are suspensions on full pay to allow things to be investigated properly. It does not mean someone is guilty.
“It is the correct thing to do. I’ve arranged for our safety officer who did the investigation to meet the players tomorrow and I’ll meet with them tomorrow to explain the process.”